2012 hottest year on record, federal agency says
September 18th, 2012
07:00 AM ET

2012 hottest year on record, federal agency says

The first eight months of 2012 were the hottest ever recorded in the continental United States and the summer period of June, July and August was the third hottest ever, the National Climatic Data Center reported Monday.

Although the August average of 74.4 degrees Fahrenheit made it only the 16th hottest August on record, the hottest July ever combined with the hottest spring on record to keep January-August 2012 atop the record books.

The nation as a whole is averaging 4 degrees Fahrenheit above average for the year. That's a full degree higher than the same period in 2006, the second hottest January-August on record.

Record keeping began in 1895.

The record warmth is a constant for from cities north to south, from Fargo, North Dakota, at 5.7 degrees F above average, to Tampa, Florida, at 2.2 degrees F above average. Green Bay, Wisconsin, posted the biggest difference to the average, 6.7 degrees F above.

The hottest temperature recorded for the month was 126 degrees F in Death Valley, California, recently recognized as the hottest place on Earth.

If you were looking colder than normal weather, the West Coast was the place to be. San Diego was .2 degrees F below normal for the year, San Francisco was 1 degree F below normal, Portland, Oregon, .7 degrees F below normal and Seattle, 1.1 degrees F below normal.

Outside the continental 48, Alaska and Hawaii temperatures were also below normal.

Meanwhile, drought conditions continued to affect a large chunk of the 48 states. The portion of the country experiencing exceptional drought, the worst level of drought, doubled in August to 6%, the NCDC reported. Overall, 39% of the country was in severe to extreme drought, "indicating that the drought has intensified," it said. Only the droughts of the 1930s and 1950s have been worse, the agency said.

Drought by the numbers

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Filed under: Heat • Weather
soundoff (258 Responses)
  1. regan flint

    Climate change is happening every where and it is not just the hotter temps. So how many more storms have been hitting the U.S. lately? Those storms are of all types , are more numerous and more stronger than ever before. How about the lack of water in the U.S.? Your rivers are drying up.
    It is just common sense that if you pump more CO2 , ect , into the atmosphere than the earth can handle you will have problems. Over the last 200 years that is just what people have done to the earth. Try not cleaning your house for a year and see what happens to it. We know that air / water pollution is not a myth so why is it so hard to see the damage the people are doing to the earth? If the Arctic Ice melts it will flood the Oceans of the world with fresh water screwing up our salt water currents. World coast lines will shrink. It is just the simple.

    September 18, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  2. Myke

    The global temperatures are not hotter than previous years. Make sure we keep that in perspective as well. I only say that because the U.S. cold year in 2010 was followed by scientists telling skeptics that the warming global temperature was more important than just the temperature of the continental U.S.

    September 18, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jeff54

    Yep. He is a Muslim all right. Raised in Muslim countries overseas. And his dad and grandad were Muslims.

    September 18, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • James Robert Akakubi

      And Mitt's father was born in a polygamist cult compound in Mexico.
      So Mitt was raised with the ideals of a polygamist cult compound in Mexico, mixed with the angel Macaroni from the planet Kobok. Are you people capable of understanding this?

      September 18, 2012 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Umbren

      Does that make me Catholic because I was raised in a Catholic household? Or am I agnostic atheist because that is what I actually believe?

      September 18, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. No

    This is a lie. Even here in Houston it hasn't been as hot as it has in previous years. They say this every year. Global warming is a lie and so is this article.

    September 18, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • NY Veteran

      And we all know that in the scientific community, as goes Houston, so goes the world.

      September 18, 2012 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • DrTom

      Agree. I refuse to be swayed by facts.

      September 18, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Primewonk

      If ACC is a lie, then you should have absolutely no problem posting the citations to the peer-reviewed scientific research that shows it's a lie.

      September 18, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Pika

      Yep, Houston is the epicenter of the planet and if it ain't happenin' there it ain't happenin' no where no how by golly. Now go get me my leather chaps, I'm going down to the all boy cowboy bar, us Texans like it like that.

      September 18, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Yes

      Look at the map, "No". You will see that Houston was one of the few areas that did NOT have above-average temperatures this year. So, the map agrees with you that Houston having normal temps this year, but much of the rest of the country was sweltering.

      September 18, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Ghost Rider

      Oh ok Mr. No. No global warming, no climate change, nothing according to you. Everything is perfectly normal, right?
      Glaciers that have been around for hundreds of thousands of years are virtually gone and that is normal to you? We can now sail from the Atlantic to the Pacific through northern Canada for the first time ever, and that is normal to you?
      I work for NASA and see the results of a changing global climate every day, so don't tell me it's all a lie. You need to start reading up on current science before making uninformed blanket statements.

      September 18, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • LarryB

      Mr No probably also refuses to believe that the Astros stink. The standings published by Major League Baseball are a lie. The Astros are actually the best team in baseball.

      September 18, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • mike

      always listen to a texan, they love science

      September 18, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
    • wesinva

      This is misinformation. Virginia was below average this year. I don't know where they get their stats, but maybe they should buy new sensors. I don't think it hit 100 degrees most of the summer in VA. August is generally the hottest month. I do agree it warmed up faster than usual, but it didn't last as long and it wasn't as hot. Scare tactics for global warming again.

      September 18, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • CNNuthin

      -1 for the educational system in Texas.

      September 18, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • jersvette

      Dr. Tom I laughed so hard. It is always the simplest one liners that carry the greatest message.

      September 18, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan C

      wesinva and NO,

      You and NO, can you please look at the map above?

      Since that is obviously is not possible, since you can not either read or see, maybe someone from Eastern Wyoming could please comment to debunk these denyers?

      I'm in southern Wisconsin and it has been warmer and dryer in 2012, winter included!

      September 18, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Idiot, we live in a closed system that has no choice but to react to conditions within it. Did you know that when rocks cross into our atmosphere they make light? Yes it's true. This indicates the intensity an outside force must withstand to enter our atmosphere. In any essentially closed system, there will be a dynamic. If you think CO2 emissions don't have an effect on the system, you are a fool.

      September 18, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  5. James Robert Akakubi

    Hi Cora,

    Can't get over it can you? Why have all the birthers been so quiet?
    Muslim, socialist, anti-christ...anything else?
    Maybe he's just a president, your president, think on that, your president.

    September 18, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Roberto

      Not mine. He isn't my president. I work for a living and pay my house payment and bills. Plus I'm not an African American, Muslim, or on welfare. And did I mention I purchased s house I could actually afford, unlike most of his supporters. Nope. Not my president al all. Bill Clinton was and is my president.

      September 18, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roberto

      and I got a rubber toe. I'm Roberto.

      September 18, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. NY Veteran

    Yes global warming is a lie. Ask the farmers who will need that government handout that you Republicans hate so much. They will become part of the 47% this year due to teh non climate change that you cite. Ask the polar ice caps as tehy melt. BUt the real joke will be on you as the water covers your creationsit mouths and you still claim that Geroge W bush ans his Panel of Scientoligists were right.

    September 18, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • DrTom

      Also ask the world's shipping companies who are making plans for Polar EU to East Asian shipping, counting miles off Panama Canal routes.

      September 18, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • DrTom

      That's 'cutting' not 'counting'.

      September 18, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • DemsAreSheep

      What's your SOLUTION? I guess it is spend more money so that we have $2T/year deficits. Make energy so expensive that people in the US start burning charcoal. And tax everyone so that God Government will change your diaper for you because you are too lazy to wipe your own behind. You represent the culture of dependency, waste, fraud, and abuse.
      I would cite actual facts (for example, globally, and it's called GLOBAL WARMING for a reason, this is no where near a record year), but you are probably so dependent on government to do your thinking for you, that if Obama said 2+2 = 5, you would go to great lengths to "prove" to yourself it is true. I hope you like $20T in debt, that's where we will be in 4 short years.

      September 18, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
    • InCanada

      leave creation out of this argument until science proves otherwise. Yes global warming is real and it will actually prove humans wrong in every aspect.

      Evolution should take care of global warming if creation is a myth. We will evolve; only specieces that can evolve to the new cliamte (super heated planet) will survive. Global warming is real, the God I worship predicted it. But you will not hear this from the so called religious because they have no clue. They are allianated from the True God and therefore spread unscientific theories.

      September 18, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  7. s~

    Global warming – Maybe
    Man made Global warming: Doubtful.

    ..Or is it climate change... make up anything to collect more taxes.....

    September 18, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Primewonk

      Still eagerly awaiting one of you denier nutters to post the citations to the peer-reviewed scientific research that shows ACC is a lie, a fraud, a scam, or wrong.

      I wonder why none of you will do this?

      September 18, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Angelo

      In the early days, idiots said there was no climate change. Then, when only the biggest idiots could still deny it, the lesser idiots said it was happening but wasn't man made. Soon, even those idiots won't be able to deny that human industry is, at the very least, a major contributor to climate change. Then, the idiots will say, "Yeah, but there's noting we can do about it so don't bother. It might cost some idiot his job!"


      September 18, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
    • s~

      Hey geniuses...
      The climate has been fluctuating long before man walked on earth and long before planes, trains and automobiles. So, why would it be any different now?

      September 18, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • s~


      If the scientists are honest they would say "They don't know for sure". But no. Saying that would cost them too much.

      Kiss Al Gores ass as you pay homage in his multi-million $$$ mansion.

      September 18, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Primewonk

      Um, because folks who actually understand science know what the rate of change and degree of change SHOULD be. And what we actually see is vastly different. The rate of change is larger. The degree of change is larger. Plus, naturally occuring CO2 and man-made CO2 have different chemical signatures, primarily in the ratios of the various carbon isotopes.

      Just because the deniers purposefully choose to be stupid, don't assume that everyone one else is.

      September 18, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Ghost Rider

      There were specific reasons why the climate on this planet fluctuated over millions of years. You need to look up why and get informed before making your biased republican rants. There were reasons that caused climate change before but we are the main reason why there is climate change now. Really, get informed and lean something.

      September 18, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • James R Ruston

      Really s, you should have more evidence to support your opinion than tht you don't like Al Gore. It is truly said that a rigid ideology will make a fool of the ideologue.

      September 18, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • LarryB

      The deniers like s~ are just going to look sillier & sillier as time goes on and the evidence continues to pile up. Frankly, they look pretty darn silly already.

      September 18, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  8. jim

    Regardless of your views, the Headline is just plain wrong. 2012 is not over and 8 months do not make a year! I expect better from the Post writers and editors.

    What would really help is a single graph showing temperatures day by day for the last 100 years in the US, Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere, and other large geographic areas on the same graph. I realize this is asking a lot (and would take a huge sheet of paper to fit this much data). You can't have a valid discussion of global warming (or not) without data and discussion of the enitre globe.

    September 18, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Pika

      Exaclty, this table is misleading or pretty much just incomplete with the information given to us. My guess is a journalist put this together without much science background, poor reporting as usual.

      September 18, 2012 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
    • DrTom

      Two things that people on both sides of this issue often fail to remember about Global Warming: (1) It's global; (2) It's warming. Just look at a graph of the average global temperature over the past few hundred years, or even go back the past few thousand years. It rises dramatically over the last 100 years or so, following pretty closely a graph of the extent of global industrialization. The global warming case is closed. It is happening, it's real, it's mostly caused by human activity. Exactly what climate changes it will lead to is less certain. But people relate to regional climate more than global climate and local weather more that regional climate.

      September 18, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
    • LarryB

      Pika, how exactly is it misleading or incomplete? It comes from the National Climactic Data Center, and is the result of a whole slew of data point measurements. How do you substantiate the "poor reporting" claim? It's probably just a case of you don't like the conclusions because they don't fit nicely with your preconceived notions, so you try to discredit the article instead.

      September 18, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Dr Pepper

      Dr tom, according to this article, they've only been keeping records since 1895. So, how are you able to go back and see the temperatures for the past 5,000 years? How do you explain the poles reversing? We weren't around then. Also, a lot of people don't realize that Mother Nature is the worst polluter of the atmosphere with all the fires started by lightning or volcanic eruptions. Now, i know that i am putting it into simplistic examples, but i don't want to have a hard core argument over an article that will be re posted a year from now when they say that 2013 is NOW the hottest year on record.

      September 18, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  9. Pika

    No doubt it was a hot summer in Colorado and winter/spring for that matter, the hottest I've seen it. I just have a problem with the map/chart above showing the differences from average temperatures. It seems to differ accross state lines which doesn't make any sense. Look at the 4 corners area for example, how can Colorado have such dark colors (big deviations from the average) to light colors shown in Arizona? It appears to me that some states are not tracking the temperatures the same. And I assume that the blue at the left end of the spectrum means it was colder than usual? What is the temperature variation from the blue left end to the right end of that bar anyways? I hate tables that don't give all the information needed, back to elementary school for the creator of that table.

    September 18, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  10. realoldguy

    Just don't call it "global warming" - that's just another so-called "theory" like evolution. Call me an old timer, but I remember when science had laws that would get everybody's vote - like the Law of Gravity and the Laws of Electricity and Magnets. Useful laws! Now THAT was real science. We don't need Obama and his junk science like that so-called "Law" of Relativity that promotes murder - the genocide of the lil baby fetus. Let the people vote on that one!

    September 18, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Primewonk

      Poe much?

      September 18, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
    • RillyKewl

      @realoldguy you were doing fine there, until your last 2 lines.
      Guess that's what's referred to as a "meltdown".

      September 18, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
    • James R Ruston

      Anyone who says that evolution is just a theory reveals that they don't know squat about evolution.

      September 18, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • LarryB

      Realignorantguy is more like it. How deep in the sand is your head buried, anyway?

      September 18, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  11. Vogrog

    It is irrefutable fact that that environment is getting warmer.

    It is a subject of considerable speculation, pseudo-science, religious zealotry, and outright idiocy as to *why* this is occuring. No one truly *knows*, and anyone claiming to should be immediately treated with skepticism.

    The environment will continue to get warmer, it cannot be stopped, and we should cease investing our faith and confidence in the demonization of certain forms of energy technology and the treatment of others as a salvation. We should start developing technologies that allow us to continue living and producing food in a hotter, wetter, more climatically volatile environment. That is how we will survive this cycle and continue into the next.

    An ice-age is coming again...yes...an ICE AGE. It is only a matter of time. All of this is a natural cycle, and no one knows precisely why the environment is getting warmer. The sooner we accept that, the sooner we can get to work on productive, real solutions.

    September 18, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      Finally, someone with common sense. Most people act like the current climate is the only climate the Earth has ever had. Global warming and cooling is just part of nature. Are we helping to speed it up? Possibly. Would it still be occurring even without the past 150 years of human innovation? More than likely.

      The global warming zealots are too far on the left, and the deniers are too far on the right. As usual, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

      September 18, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • James R Ruston

      So...an ice age is coming again. And how do you know this? Well, in fact, you don't. Talk about speculation.

      September 18, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  12. JP

    Global warming I guess. Oops it is called man made disaster or some such thing now

    September 18, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  13. RillyKewl

    Its weird that even weather is political.
    You'd think the crazies sweat differently, or something.
    Enjoy your fossil fuels, red states!

    September 18, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Pika

      I'm not denying global warming, but it is political when the politicians make it political. They will use every opportunity they can to get new laws passed to help push their agenda. I do fear global warming as well as I fear a government that will use it to manipulate the people and have them give up rights or tax them even more. It will happen, that is why there is such a big push.

      September 18, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • DemsAreSheep

      What FUEL are you going to use TODAY? See, this is the problem with global warming reactionaries. You simply do not understand the science. Here's what the science says - to stem increasing temperatures, we have to globally reduce carbon emission by 80%. Basically, you have to reduce ALL energy consumption by roughly that amount. Let's see, why don't you drive 20% of the way to work and WALK the rest of the way. Take the train to work? do the same thing. Have your refrigerator on 1 day/week. Use email, one day per week.. Oh, you think Solar and Wind will rescue you? Think again, brainiac. It doesn't have the energy density. The sky is falling the sky is falling. The world is getting warmer... get used to it. Oh, an remember a Dem in his car emits just as much carbon as a republican.

      September 18, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  14. Denny

    Much of global warming is caused by natural gas. Democrats are lazy and eat beans bought with their food stamps. The beans give them gas, hence global warming occurs. See. The democrats are causing it.

    September 18, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  15. Carm

    Get used to it. Sime of the times; Jesus is returning soon folks. Are you ready?

    September 18, 2012 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
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